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Consumers are smitten with Ralph Lauren, love sleeveless looks and favor purple as a color and solid when it comes to pattern types.

This story first appeared in the October 1, 2015 issue of WWD.  See More. 

And when it comes to pricing, consumers are often willing to pay more than what companies set as a price point.

That’s the latest read on shopper sentiment from First Insight Inc. regarding spring 2016 designer collections. Working with WWD’s coverage of the spring 2016 collection, the analytics firm conducted a consumer survey over an eight-day period when 289 styles were tested. There were over 2,600 responses collected that generated more than 400,000 data points on 18 designer brands.

The survey involved users playing an online game, “What Would They Pay?” which culled various data points and sentiment metrics, said Jim Shea, Chief Marketing Officer, and Joe Callahan, Director of Marketing at First Insight. When the results were crunched, Ralph Lauren emerged as the top brand by average positive sentiment.

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Tory Burch RTW Spring 2016
George Chinsee/WWD

Coming in at number two was Diane von Furstenberg, with Carolina Herrera in third. Rebecca Minkoff was fourth. Regarding the most favored dress, a ready-to-wear look from Tory Burch‘s collection (the Tory Burch Juliette Wrap Gown in linen burlap with gold foiled embroidery, pictured with this article) was the top overall item with a 70 percent positive sentiment score.

Some of the notable brands that garnered strong, positive sentiment included a Ralph Lauren look with a 62 percent score. Comments by those surveyed described it as a “fantastic dress” with a “very unique hem.” Another favored design was a simple black dress with a “V” neck, which had a 67 percent positive sentiment rating. Those polled said the look was, “Very simple. Very classy.”

One Marc Jacobs dress came in with a 59 percent sentiment score. Commentators praised the dress, and touted it as having celebrity potential – “possibly Scarlett Johansson,” one respondent said. Other high scorers included DKNY, Desigual, Calvin Klein and BCBG.

By age group, the top two brands for 19- to 29-year-olds were Diane von Furstenberg and Carolina Herrera; for 30- to 44-year-olds, the brands were Ralph Lauren and DVF, and for 45- to 59-year-olds, the designers were Minkoff and Zac Posen. It’s important to note that the game used to poll respondents featured a large runway image of the dress, which included the designer’s name. No logos or other details were included.

What’s also noteworthy is that this year’s Ralph Lauren collection got mixed reviews from fashion critics. “Yet, consumers absolutely loved it,” Shea said, adding that the results reflect a disconnect between fashion editorial perspectives and consumers.

The survey revealed that purple and black were the two top colors, followed by red. Purple, by the way, was the most favored color during the fall collections survey, which was also conducted by First Insight. With sleeve length, sleeveless received the highest sentiment followed by short sleeve and then long sleeve. Regarding patterns, solid came in first followed by floral and then print.

With hem length, the high-low look garnered the highest sentiment, followed by the mini. With necklines, the halter look took that top spot followed by round and then the “V” neck design.

Shea and Callahan said there were some surprises in the results. “When you get into pricing, that’s where it gets really interesting,” Callahan said. He noted that even though consumers polled may favor two styles equally, how they value the designs can vary. For example, Callahan said the top favored Marc Jacobs items were “equally well-liked” by 19 to 29 year olds as it was by 45 to 59 year olds.

But Callahan quickly noted that the Millennials “were willing to pay over $1,700 more [for the Marc Jacobs items] than those ages 45 to 59,” he said. And for Desigual’s top item, “people were willing to pay more than its typical price.”

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